Per usual, voting for All-COC softball honors by the league’s coaches produced obvious omissions that actually overshadow the deserving recipients.
It’s become cliche to state, ‘One never knows what to expect when the COC softball coaches vote.’ Unfortunately, credible coaches around the league are being grouped with their cohorts and cast in an unflattering manner, based on their voting.
Add Nixa senior first baseman Sara Sweaney’s name to the growing list of players over the years all-too conspicuous by their absence on the All-COC First Team. Matter of fact, she is not on this year's First- or Second- Teams and also didn't receive honorable mention recognition.
Within SWMO softball circles, Sweaney has earned the reputation the past three seasons of a feared slugger. Her numbers this season included a .370 batting average, 30 RBIs, 11 doubles, seven home runs and a .685 slugging percentage. She led the Lady Eagles in the latter three categories.
With 22 home runs, Sweaney is Nixa’s career home runs leader.
She is far from the first player to be slighted. Last year, many fans shared the opinion infielders and outfielders on the All-COC Second Team were far superior to those on the First Team.
The COC coaches make their decisions based on stats only compiled during conference play. That’s a halfway reasonable rationale, I guess, but is still flawed on many fronts.
First off, the COC coaches completely contradict themselves by presumably including stats for the entire season when voting on All-District teams. There have been plenty of examples of players who never had a single hit during Districts, but were named to an All-District First Team.
I would actually be all for All-District teams being based largely, if not completely, on stats from District games. After all, it's a tournament and the biggest tourney of the season. Reward players with an all-tournament selection who deliver on the biggest stage.
Of course, numbers don't always tell all. At some point, common sense has to prevail.
To that end, the COC coaches must be big fans of St. Louis Cardinals manager Oli Marmol. In their world, the eye test means nothing, the computer knows all.
Not all hits and pitches are created equal. Timing is everything. Clutch hitting and pitching should be the coup de grace. Also, extra-base hits and RBIs should weigh heavily in the voters' minds.
A year ago, Ozark’s Audrey Carlton was relegated to Second-Team status, despite producing a game-winning grand slam that helped beat Nixa and propel the Lady Tigers to the COC championship.
Also, when COC stats only matter, hitters with a dominating pitcher as a teammate the likes of Ozark grad Jordyn Foley or Nixa grad Maddy Meierer are gift-wrapped an advantage on their counterparts because they don’t have to face a Foley or a Meierer.
Speaking of pitching, the consensus was the quality of hurlers throughout the league was down dramatically this season in comparison to recent years. Yet, the coaches deemed three pitchers as being First-Team worthy.
Republic has a First-Team pitcher, even after the Lady Tigers surrendered 56 runs in their nine COC contests or an average of 6.2 runs a game. Also, she was a unanimous selection. Go figure because I can't. The pitcher must have hit extremely well to overrride what happened in the center circle. If that's the case, her pitching shouldn't have had anything to do with her selection, yet she was named as a pitcher.
I couldn't make this stuff up, sports fans.
The fact that all of the All-COC picks aren't unanimous selections sends off a red alert alarm. Are we to believe the players who aren't uanimous First-Team picks had identical stats all across the board as some Second-Team choices and judgement calls actually came into play? Surely not, after all we've already established the human element has no bearing on votes. This is based on COC stats only.
You cant have it both ways, coaches.
Credit to the coaches for one thing. They finally acknowledged Willard senior third baseman Alyson Miller to be among the COC’s elite. She finished her career with 41 home runs, many of them majestic shots, and had a game-winning homer to beat Nixa in a District final. This is her very first All-COC First-Team selection.
While I'm at it, I might as well add that the COC baseball coaches have had controversial oversights over the years, as well.
Just last spring, outfielder Wyatt Vincent was named Nixa’s MVP, but wasn’t one of the Eagles' three All-COC First Team selections.
The presumptions are Vincent was nonsensically overlooked because he was a sophomore or perhaps the baseball coaches are voting in the same manner as softball coaches.
Coaches, trust yourselves to make the correct calls on your votes. You're making it awfully easy to argue against your current course of action and making all of this much harder than it is.